Spoilers: Up to S2 'Lost Boys'
Summary: She's tired of waiting for bad news, and not being able to do anything when she gets it, but she realises she can still help her friends - even stuck on Atlantis. Weir and team/friendship fic.
A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman and Ellex. Exploration of Weir's role in Lost Boys, missing scene/episode tag.
She looks at him and silently pleads for him to see what she doesn't wish to ask. She wants it to be obvious, a reasonable request. She knows it isn't quite; it's only been a few hours. But she has a feeling, and she's sure this isn't just like any other time – like ALL the other times. Still, she doesn't say that she's got a gut feeling or that she's going on instinct, because real leaders are meant to make conscious, logical decisions. They aren't meant to be biased towards their closest friends; or at least, they shouldn't show it so blatantly.
She smiles gratefully when Lorne finally gets her point, reading between the fine lines of her worry for Sheppard's team. She says it exactly like that; she doesn't say she's worried about Rodney, John, Teyla or even Ronon. Professionally it's a matter of 'team', but it's almost like she has some sixth sense for when her friends are in trouble. Still, he puts that idea aside, nodding curtly to her before he goes to gather up his team for a second mission.
She leaves him to it and gets back to work, but there's a tension underneath that keeps her from concentrating. Only after she's seen Lorne‘s team leave does her stomach rest a little better. The feeling is still there, but she's done all she can at present. She can't fix what they don't know is broken yet. She can't fix it herself when they do, but she can send the best men out to look, to help them. Sometimes it troubles her to be this helpless, to be simply an administrator and a figurehead. She takes all the critique they have to give, and she puts up with the boundaries of the job, with having to distance herself – and never once can she do anything more than organise and give orders, that are often overruled or twisted by others' wills. It's days like this she wishes she could just get in there and do it her own way. But she knows she's not that kind of woman; she's no soldier. She has to stay home and play safe, despite constantly having to put others at risk. She just wishes they'll come back, because she hasn't entirely succeeded at keeping away from her people, at staying independent from, and unreliant on them. It's Sheppard's team out there, true, but it's her friends who she wants to return; because, quite simply, she needs them.
And when Lorne returns without them, first to report they're missing and the second time to tell her just how remote the chance of finding them is, she nods back at him, saying nothing. He gets the message, and with a nod and a 'Ma'am', he leaves her alone. She wants to tell him he's got it wrong and not to give up, but she remembers that nagging thought that she should be thinking of the city as a whole and of proper protocol. Still, these are her friends, and she can't quite bring herself to send the message on – her mouth not forming the words to pronounce them missing, presumed dead, because in her mind, they're missing but presumed alive. Right now, she understands John better than ever before. Leave no man behind. She thinks on it for quite some time and comes to the conclusion that no matter the cost or consequences, she won't give up; she orders the search to go on despite the unlikely possibility of success. If appearing weak is the price she has to pay, she'll sacrifice that and more just to get her team - her chief scientist, her chief military officer, her Athosian ambassador and her refugee alien specialist - her friends, back.
Caldwell saunters into her office, and she's ready for a fight. She knows a multitude of cases she can quote, times when the SGC wouldn't give up on their men. She doesn't see how this is different, except that she knows those examples are only backing up her excuses. There’s a very human motivation behind it all - the need to have them back - otherwise, she'll be responsible for sending them out when the information was so sketchy they should have taken greater precautions.
She states her intentions clearly and firmly, surprised when she's not interrupted by the Colonel. His face solemn, he says one thing, but it's the best thing she could have heard from him in this situation.
“I'm with you on this.”
She smiles at him, and nods stoically. She notices he has no reports to drop off; he only came to tell her that. Then he turns to leave silently, getting back to business – following her orders. She doesn't feel quite so alone now. If she doesn't get them back, then she'll live with it, like any other leader – like Caldwell no doubt does, and like Sheppard did when he lost Sumner. But she *is* going to get them back, Because she knows she has the power to make it happen. This time, no one else is going to persuade her otherwise, and everyone knows it.